Content Curation: Defining What It Is and Is Not

When your company's corporate communications staff looks back on what the big trend was in 2012, undoubtedly they're going to think "content curation."


For many chief marketing officers and PR managers, curation is defined as what successful brands do on their websites, blogs and social media. But, let's take a hint from the Macmillan Dictionary, which says content curation is "the process of analyzing and sorting Web content and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme." Hopefully, marketers can agree that content curation, in its broadest sense, is gathering content from various sources and sharing it online.

To draw a line in the sand, here is what our agency believes content curation is and definitely is not.

Curation IS NOT…

  • Republishing articles
  • Automating aggregation of content
  • Link spraying or collecting
  • Compiling a broad mash-up of "hot" topics  

This, at the basics of it, is curation. Based on our agency's experience in creating online content for clients, here is what we believe great curation to be:

Curation IS all about…

  • Adding value with insights and commentary to relevant third party content
  • Giving your audience content that is exactly what they would find intriguing
  • Helping the searcher find what they are looking for, even if they didn’t know they were looking for it
  • Replacing a need to look at additional sources
  • Building a strong, engaging relationship with an audience

Content Creation Done Right

But, as opined by New York Times journalist David Carr, "where is the line 20120312_carr_graphic-articleinline.jpgbetween promoting the good work of others and simply lifting it?" Last April at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, I listened to a panel on this exact topic. During the discussion, expert curator Maria Popova, founder of the online Brain Pickings discovery engine, introduced us to the "Curator's Code." The Curator's Code is a form of attribution in the realm of content creation, a way to give credit where credit is due. The Curator's Code uses a sideways S symbol to indicate "via," meaning some of the content came directly from another source, and a looped arrow symbol to indicate a "hat tip" or h/t, meaning another source inspired further thought.

So, to give credit where credit is due…

Curator's Code 

Social Media Today: The Difference Between Content Curation and Link Spraying 

New York Times: A Code of Conduct for Content Aggregators 

Do you think our curated post about content creation contains valuable insights and commentary, provides you with intriguing content, helps you find what you are looking for, ends your need to find additional sources on this topic, and starts a dialogue? Please let us know - either way - below!


Image Sources: Social Media Today / Observer

About the Author

Abra Williams

Abra Williams is a former Maccabeast

Topics:  Content Marketing

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